Our firm travels to numerous countries presenting conferences entitled “Investing and Living in the United States”. These conferences are presented to business groups and associations where we provide specific instructions on the process for the E-1, E-2, and EB-5 applications.
|An investor can create a new business or buy an existing business in the United States with a minimum investment of about $75,000, and the investor (and family) can live in the United States as long as the business is active. The United States signs treaties with other countries designed to promote trade and investment between the U.S. and the Treaty Country.
E-visas come in two types: an E-1 treaty trader visa is set aside for companies that trade goods and services with the United States, while the E-2 investor visa is for an individual or enterprise that invests a substantial amount of funds in the United States with the prospect of job creation.
The E-visa may be used by companies owned by a single investor, as well as by large multinational companies. In addition, once an E visa is approved, it is also available to key foreign personnel to work for the E company as specialty workers. The visa is valid indefinitely (or as long as the applicant is maintaining his or her investments or trade) and may be renewed, generally, in 2 year or 5 year increments. In order to qualify for E-1 or E-2 status, the U.S. must have a treaty with the home country of the foreign national.
E-1 Treaty Trader
The E-1 classification is available if trade of a substantial nature occurs principally between the United States and the alien’s country of nationality. The trade must include international exchange of items between the U.S. and a treaty country.
For an E-1 visa, the trade between the U.S. and Treaty country must be substantial. The majority of trade conducted by the E-1 visa holder must be between the United States and the treaty country of which the E-1 visa holder is a national. The E-1 alien employer must be an enterprise or organization owned by persons having the nationality of the treaty country (E-1 holder must own at least 50% of the company). In addition, if the applicant is not the principal trader, then the alien must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possesses special qualifications that make the alien’s services essential to the successful and efficient operation of the enterprise. Finally, the employee must have the same nationality as the E-1 visa owner.
E-2 Investor Visa
The E-2 visa is for investors, employees, executives, supervisors and essential employees. As an investor, the foreign national applicant must purchase an existing business/enterprise, invest into an existing business/enterprise or invest into a new business/enterprise. There is no restriction on the type of business as long as it is not considered a passive business such as ownership of stock, bonds, land etc.
The E-2 applicant must own at least 50% of the business and must invest a “substantial” amount of capital into the investment. To qualify for an E-2 investor visa, the applicant must develop and direct operations of an enterprise in which he or she has invested or is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital. The applicant must be a foreign national of a country that has a qualifying treaty with the United States.
The E-2 investment visa may be filed directly at the consulate or embassy of the applicant without the prior approval of the US CIS, or can be filed while the applicant is in the United States. An E-2 visa may be approved in a few weeks if the applicant is filing under premium processing in the United States. The spouse of the E-2 visa holder is entitled to an employment authorization card which allows the spouse to work legally in the United States. The E-2 visa is usually extended every five years, and the visa can be extended indefinitely as long as the business is ongoing.
Employee of E-2 Investor
The Employee must be of the same nationality of the E-2 investor. If the applicant is not the principal investor, they must be employed in an executive or supervisory capacity, or possess skills that are highly specialized and essential to the operations of the commercial enterprise.
Our Senior Partner, Andrew P. Johnson, was a government prosecutor until he started the immigration law firm in 1999. He has authored numerous articles on immigration and international matters which have been published by the American Bar Association and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. In 2013, Andrew P. Johnson was invited to speak to over 30 United Nation Ambassadors regarding the EB-5 visa investor program. In 2015, Mr. Johnson was invited to Washington DC to speak to over 40 United States Ambassador about the EB-5 investment program.
“I had a long and difficult case with immigration and Andrew Johnson and his staff kept us updated throughout the process told us how long it would be and told us to follow their instructions and we will receive a green card. With something so important as a green card is nice to have a strong attorney who can make sure everything is done properly. We felt very confident throughout the entire process because we knew we had someone who is an expert and we received a green card in 2018. They did a great job.“